Adaptation Unbounded: New Directions, New Agendas

31 October - 2 November 2013

The topic of this conference, suggested by Jim Welsh, Professor Emeritus, Salisbury University, USA addresses researchers from disciplines such as literary studies, film studies, translation studies, semiotics, and last but not at all least from the recently created research field of adaptation studies. The purpose is to explore the boundaries and the potentialities of adaptation, more broadly defined, as well as the (occasionally fuzzy) boundaries that distinguish this concept from other forms of translation (in all its senses) and rewriting in an attempt to attribute interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary dimensions to on-going research in the field. The first journal in the field of literature/film studies, Literature/Film Quarterly (founded and edited by Jim Welsh), was initially interested in adaptations of literary and dramatic texts to film and later television, though more broadly defined notions of adaptation were not necessarily dismissed. Subsequent journals in the literature/film area (Adaptation - editors Deborah Cartmell and Imelda Whelehan, The Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance – edited by Richard Hand), recently published

empirical and theoretical books (Linda Hutcheon, A Theory of Adaptation (2005), Thomas Leitch, "Adaptation Studies and Its Discontents" (2007), as well as books dealing with a reconfiguration of the present day ‘territory’ of adaptation (Lawrence Raw, James M. Welsh and Dennis Cutchins (eds.), Redefining Adaptation Studies, 2010 or The Pedagogy of Adaptation, 2010 by the same editors, etc.), already show how much adaptation studies, which started from mere comparisons between a  literary work and its adapted film have progressed in the last decades.

At the same time, both adaptation and translation have been frequently defined and described in relation to each other. The history of translations is also one of adaptations. Translation theory has struggled against the judgments concerning the concept of fidelity that has dominated the writings on adaptations of literary works. The task of the translator and also that of the adapter have often been looked upon as similarly difficult and unrewarding. In view of its several (frequently overlapping) meanings, adaptation has been discussed from different perspectives not only between distinct areas of study but also within the same discipline. In translation studies, for instance, it has been related to topics such as translation strategy, genre, metalanguage or faithfulness (cf. Bastin, 2008).

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